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7 Alarming Domestic Violence Statistics You Need to Know

7 alarming domestic violence statistics to know.
7 alarming domestic violence statistics to know.

“An enormous pressure cooker.”

That’s how Lisa Martin, Executive Director of Women’s Shelters Canada, describes the pandemic. 

The already staggering domestic violence statistics are growing across Canada. Lockdown effectively silenced and isolated victims and enabled abusers to continue their destructive patterns, largely unchecked.

Women’s shelters in both rural and urban communities are grappling with the growing number of victims of domestic violence – and the ways to safely offer support services.

In some areas, calls to their crisis lines have increased by 400%. In others, the phones are eerily silent – the constant surveillance making contact with support services all the more complicated. 

Support workers are deeply concerned about the welfare of women – and children – across the country who are suffering at the hands of their verbally and physically abusive partners.

Addressing domestic violence statistics, even during a pandemic.

Stakeholders are just beginning to measure the full effects of COVID-19 on incidents – and reporting – of domestic abuse. Prior to lockdown, the crisis was already at an alarming state. 

Here are 7 statistics that paint a troubling picture.

1 in 5: The number of women who experience some form of physical or mental abuse in their intimate relationships.

Abuse comes in many forms:

  • Pushing, hitting, slapping, choking, kicking, or biting.
  • Threats towards you, your children, your family, or pets.
  • Using, or threatening to use, a weapon against you.
  • Keeping or taking your paycheque and controlling financial resources.
  • Putting you down, insulting you, or blaming you.
  • Threatening suicide if you leave.
  • Forcing or pressuring you into sex.
  • Keeping you from seeing family or friends, or going to work.

83%: The proportion of females compared to males who are victims of domestic violence. 

While men are victims of abuse, as well, the overwhelming majority are women. According to Battered Women’s Support Services:

Violence against women is rooted in unequal power relationships between men and women in society. In a broader context, structural relationships of inequalities in politics, religion, media, and discriminatory cultural norms perpetuate violence against girls and women.

Every 6 days: The frequency with which a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner. 

We know that…

  • About 26% of all women who are murdered by their spouse had left the relationship.
  • In one study, half of the murdered women were killed within two months of leaving the relationship.
  • Women are 6 times more likely to be killed by an ex-partner than by a current partner.
  • Many women say that they were abused by a partner after the relationship ended and that the violence escalated following a break-up.
  • Almost 60% of all dating violence happens after the relationship has ended.

(Source: canadianwomen.org

362,000: The estimated number of children who witness or experience family violence each year in Canada. 

Broken down, the numbers are even more alarming.

  • 6 in 10 children and youth victims of family violence were assaulted by their parents. The youngest child victims (under the age of 3 years) were most vulnerable to violence by a parent.
  • Girls are four times more likely than boys to experience family-related sexual offences. The rate of physical assault was similar for girls and boys.
  • Only in 2009, nearly 55,000 children and youth were the victims of a sexual offence or physical assault where 3 in 10 were perpetrated by a family member.

(Source: Battered Women’s Support Services)

Over 3000: The number of women living with 2900 dependent children in emergency shelters to escape domestic violence.

With health regulations around COVID-19 changing the capacity of some shelters, and confusion about availability and accessibility of shelter space, these numbers have likely altered. But the need for shelter capacity remains…and is growing.

$871 million: The cost of the criminal justice system to address domestic violence.

The federal system includes:

  • Policing
  • Court
  • Prosecution
  • Legal Aid
  • Corrections
  • Incarceration
  • Conditional sentences
  • Probation
  • Fines

At the civil level there are expenses related to:

  • Protection orders
  • Divorce and separation proceedings
  • Child Protection Services

(Source: Department of Justice)

$294 million: The cost of counselling victims of domestic violence. 

Mental health support for victims is a critical aspect of care, no matter what stage of the ordeal the victim is living. Even after an abuser is behind bars, victims have a long road to recovery from the trauma they experienced.

(Source: Battered Women’s Support Services)

These domestic violence statistics tell us: the home is not a safe place for everyone.

Home should be a safe place. Sadly, for too many women and children in our community, home is a place of instability and suffering – both emotional and physical. 

It’s our desire to provide a pathway for women escaping domestic violence. At the Kelowna Women’s Shelter, we offer:

  • A safe place to stay. 
  • Essentials such as food, clothing, and toiletries for women who have to flee and didn’t have time to prepare. 
  • Ongoing counseling, support, and preventive education programs.

All at no cost.

We need your help to continue to support women and children through these challenging times. Can you help us reach out to those most in need of our help in the community? Let’s turn these statistics around…and help make home a safe place for everyone.

Click here to donate now. Or click here for helpful resources if you’re experiencing domestic abuse.

If you learned a lot from this blog and you’d like to read more, take a look at these posts:

Real Effects of Trauma are Widely Misunderstood
Rethinking Stereotypes: One Woman’s Story of Abuse
Domestic Abuse in Canada: 7 Facts You Need to Know

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